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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. it's time to do nation building right here at home. >> that future is out there, it is waiting for us. >> tonight the special edition of charlie rose. >> rose: welcome to our program. we're live this evening from new york, denver los angeles and washington. president obama and governor romney faced off tonight in the first of three debates before election day on november 6th.
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domestic policy was in focus during the 90-minute showdown at the university of denver. the platform gave govern romney an opportunity to reignite his campaign which has suffered some this summer. they sparred across a range of issues. >> there's a various done of small businesses across the country saying what's the effect of obamacare in your hiring plans. three quarters said it makes us less likely to hire people. i just don't know how the president could come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment and economic crises at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the american people. >> the irony is that we've seen this model work really well, in massachusetts. because govern romney did a good thing, working with democrats in the state to set up what is
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essentially the identical model, and as a consequence, people are covered there. it hasn't destroyed jobs. when govern romney stood on the stage with other republican candidates for the nomination, and he was asked, would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue. economy said no. >> i have my own plans. it's not the same as simpson-bowles but in my view the president should have grabbed it. if he wanted to make adjustments to it, go to congress and fight for it. >> that's what we've done, made adjustments to it and putting it before congress right now. >> you've been president four years. you said you'd cut the deficit in half it's now four years later we still have trillion dollar deaf surkts the ceo says we'll have a trill un-- trillin dollar debt. >> govern romney wants to repeal dodd-frank and i pressure we've got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have
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some regulation. in the past govern romney says he just wants to repeal dodd-frank, roll it back. so the question is, does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight in regulation of wall street. because if you do, then governor romney is your candidate. >> that's not the facts. look we have to have regulation on wall street. that's why i have regulation but i wouldn't designate five banks as too big to fail and give thm a big check. that was one of the consequences of dodd-frank it wasn't thought through propertily. josh tyrangiel is editor of bloomberg businessweek, john heilemann is national affairs editor for "new york" magazine. norah o'donnell is my cohost on cbs this morning, correspondent for cbs news, mike murphy a columnness for "time" magazine. from washington, albert hunt,
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executive editor of bloomberg news. from denver john dickerson, cbs news' political director and political correspondent at and joining us also from denver katty kay of the bbc. i'm pleased to have all of them for this event we've all been waiting for. i go to al hubble. a simple question, who won, who lost, why. >> i don't know if that's simple but if i had to pick i would say governor romney won. he set the awe general de more than the president did. he affectively and aggressive attacked the president's record and did a pretty good job defending his own. ice going to have problems the next couple days on taxes however because he is proposing a $6 trillion tax cut and he hasn't said how he'll pay for it. but he still i thought did very well on most counts tonight. barack obama surprised me. i wouldn't call him he was
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passive tonight. he seemed to pull back a little bit on dodd-frank and preexisting conditions and loopholes. he had a good line but didn't quite deliver it with any kind of sharpness. never mentioned 47%, never mentioned bain, never mentioned massachusetts jobs. i'm a democrat, the consolation i have is i've got about 17 tweets tonight with people saying they thought it was boring. most americans think that and secondly debates rarely change the outcome. >> rose: mike murphy, what do you think. >> i think romney did win tonight but i think he won something bigger than one debate. he had a campaign that was in trouble and with this debate, i think he broke through kind of the stage villain persona that the negative advertising accredited around him. now he's going to get what he really needs to take the race back which is a second look in october. the interesting thing is there will now be a surge of enthusiasm for romney and a lot of anger and rage on the
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democratic side. i you can see the rage in california. the question for the romney campaign is can they take this great moment a clear win with this new romney. people haven't seen new ideas, smart energy. can they lock the campaign to it and can they now take advantage to really capitalize on the second look he's going to get. >> rose: was the romney you saw tonight the romney you knew, mike. >> yes. a little secret of the romney, i ran his campaign for governor back in 2002, and he won that state by performing really well in the debates. the go you saw tonight, smart, policy-focused, crisp. you look at him and think boy a guy who knows how to run something well. so i think the country in many ways got the first real look at that and then filtered away and now if the romney guys can keep that going for the month they're really back in the race. the next thing the media narrative will need a couple better polls for romney and my guess is they'll get them. they have a real opportunity to move forward.
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>> rose: john dickerson. >> on the poll of undecided voters right after the debate who watched, romney not only won two to one but on the question of who cares about you and regular people which is the place that the obama campaign had been savaging him before the debate, romney's numbers were about 30. after the debate they were in the 60's, which is to say in this debate romney had two tasks. one was to explain why the president has failed and be very aggressive there that and then he had another task that sort of conflicted with the first in that he needs to be appealing enough that people would like him, find something worth voting for him about not just because they didn't like barack obama. well that number in the instant poll which shouldn't put too much emphasis on them but gives us inkling of where the currents are going. that's good for romney. i'll echo mike the campaign needed a pause in what was a slide. i think they got the pause and the question is now when you
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thank you about a new romney, he's had a lot of different iterations in his life. you can imagine the obama campaign trying to make sofg a mediocre debate will jump on that notion of new and say he's created a whole new persona than the guy who ran in the primaries. >> rose: norah. >> president obama left his greatest hit on the cutting room floor. there was no mention of bain or no mention of the 47%, no mention of china, no mention of the auto industry saved. there's no mention of the wars ended and the discussion about obamacare. he didn't mention that that would turn back many provisions that protect women's health, free mammograms, contra ceptives. there are a number of greatest hits he uses on the campaign but he didn't mention tonight. the only thing i can think in terms of analyzing what happened, there's been many white house advisors who know behind the scenes how much president obama personally dislikes mitt romney, just has a disrespect in some ways for him. he respected john mccain because peace a war hero but just thinks mitt romney is an empty suit.
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my sense was that his advisors got to him and said you cannot let that show through in this debate because it seemed like something was holding obama back. it seemed like when i was looking down, it was almost like he was biting his lip from responding. >> rose: it seemed to me he thought it was perhaps surprised by the performance he was watching by mitt romney. john. >> he hates him more now. [laughter] >> rose: murphy, only you would say that. >> i thought the biggest difference between the two was that governor romney had a strategy and he had a plan. and he came in -- >> rose: he executed it. >> executed on it in an aggressive forceful way. president obama did not seem to have a plan, did not seem to have a strategy. seemed to be in a prevent defenses. he's been running a pretty safe campaign because he's been ahead for a while and feeling confident about where they are. he was like, looked like he was trying to stall out the clock. seemed to me like he was endure the debate more than engaging
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the debate. the visuals, talking to a lot of people in mike's profession. in any debate turn the sound off and just look at the visuals what you're seeing. president obama staring down, not making eye contact with governor romney nor the audience. that visual cue it's almost accepting the other guy's making a point you need to deal with as opposed to forcefully kind of staring them down in a pose of reputation. you never saw that with president obama tonight. i thought it was a curiously passive performance, and there's a lot of things that mitt romney said tonight that he's never said before. he said i'm not, there's going to be no fax cuts for upper income earners. no cuts to medicare. those are positions we've not heard from governor romney before. he said a lot of specific things in this debate. he's been criticized for not having specifics. some of the specifics were easily challengeable by the president. the president didn't challenge him on the specifics in any way. and again, i think that's, speaks to him playing it very
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safe. that four corners offensive, that practice prevent defense and mike is right in the sense governor romney got done what he needed to get done is get voters to give him another look. >> rose: people say the first 15 minutes is important. >> 15 minutes in, i was immediately taken back to the first kerry-bush debate. if you remember bush came out and he looked tired. he was a little bit pension lent and stumbled with his answers and kerry was there with the podium. the moment finally arrived, prepared himself and his momentum and confidence built throughout his entire debate and i saw the exact same thing tonight. president came out and looked like he under estimated his opponent a bit, was tired. and romney was short and to the point. as john was saying, the president won on overall time spoken by about five minutes. i would say romney made about 50 more plays. the president was huddling and romney got to the line and made his point. one thing that shouldn't be under estimated as we go forward
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is enjoyment. when we look back at the democratic convention, everybody in our business and everybody in politics really talked about how much fun bill clinton made politics. and the fact is politics can be enormous fun. mitt romney had fun tonight. the president did not have fun. >> rose: and passion. katty kay, can you hear me. she's not ready. so let me throw this open. so where does this campaign go now. will there be a ridged analysis of who said what and therefore finding fault and perhaps finding discrepancies in what people said. anybody make any factual mistakes. >> well, i think that a lot of the things that president obama didn't do tonight will now be things his campaign will try to litigate. there are things governor romney, i don't think falsehood so much as there's some more meat on the bones. they've been able for a long time to portray, to characterize governor romney's policies in any way they wanted to because he was not saying anything
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specific about his policies. he's now said a bunch of things, and they will now look at those things for inconsistencies and look at those things where they will be able to say well sate a second, you said x that's inconsistent with y. they will go and start to litigate that because they're going to lose, as mike said, the liberal media is mad at president obama right now. and there's going to be a lot of wailing and nashing on the web tomorrow about this. not at romney. saying president obama failed from the left. and then the middle i think is going to come to a conclusion like we've had around this table. they're going to take some lumps for the next 24 hours and like the obama campaign does they'll go back to the swing states and drill back on the stuff and trying to take romney apart piece by piece and get ready for what is now going to be i think a very very very heavy duty second debate. this is, governor romney won what he wanted which is he wanted to turn this into a three series of debates. president obama is going to come, going to bring his a game to that second debate because he
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knows he has to. >> rose: verse we have the vice president debate. katty kay, what did you think? >> yes, i mean i agree that this was mitt romney's night. he was punchier, crisper, president obama seemed tired. he was convoluted. the feedback i was getting from people viewing from their homes, frankly they were lost during the course of this debate. it strikes me as a really fine line between having a very serious economic policy debate which this certainly was, in which american voters say they wanted and the country certainly needs and making sure that you keep the voters engaged and that you make it comprehensible to voters. and i think again on that front, mitt romney did a better job than barack obama did and he has to go into that second debate stronger. because the consensus is here that he had a weak night. >> rose: al hunt, was this a good debate as debates go? >> i'm not sure how you judge
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that, charlie. i think it's up to the candidates to make it a good or bad debate and i think romney did a pretty good job and obama did a very poor job. show i guess that makes it a wash. i'm not sure about mike murphy's point about it being a reset though i suspect he's right. but i would pick up on josh tyrangiel's point about the kerry analogy. absolutely right, i think it's a striking analogy but guess what, john kerry lost by the same amount he was trailing before that debate. so that gets to the question whether debates really have, whether they really matter that much. and i went back and looked at every debate and every poll before and after since 1960, and the only candidate who gained substantially from debates, jerry ford who blew the biggest debate night of his career. so i'm skeptical, particularly with a rather small group of persuadeables, even though mike murphy may be right i'm skeptical this is really going to change the playing field a lot.
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>> rose: mike murphy, how would you convince him. >> i think what happens now is romney has a huge opportunity because what happened tonight is not really a static thing, it's part of a dynamic process. so now, obama will fight off the process stories for a while. there's new interest in romney. they saw a guy tonight that a lot of the country would see romney through the filter of advertising saying wait a minute this is an interesting guy. the romney campaign is going to have to harness that moment and put the mitt we saw out there tonight was free of the duct tape of the republican base politics to get out and be the pragmatist he is. i thought romney was so much better than the romney campaign, and obama was so much worse than the technically proficient obama campaign. so there's no doubt we build up expectations for the second debate but romney's got a real opportunity now to use this new attention, come in order with that technocratic manager efficient i can deliver results grown up kind of romney we saw who was the real romney, people
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in massachusetts saw that and run with it. that will change the rates and they have an opportunity to see what happens. >> rose: dickerson how do they act on this opportunity. >> that's the key question is trying to find a way to make it stick. the obama people are going to be at home depot buying more duct tape trying to remind people of the romney, of the primary. and it will go sort of in this way. they will say this was a new romney. well he's a lot different than the old romney and it's a short span of time and this goes to the question do you trust him. that's been something they've been beating up on romney about from the tax returns to the secret plans. you heard the president talk tonight about a variety of plans that romney had which in the four corners of the debate sound quite reasonable and he delivered them brilliantly. but that's in the course of the debate. you can imagine the obama people will be running on this scene of secrecy, the idea that romney s promising a lot of things and they don't add up. what's going to fill in the secrecy is the mitt romney of the primary. that's the way the obama script
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will run. the romney script has to be as mike said find a way to kind of take in the romney that was out there tonight and put in all the other different context. have him show up somehow. he's had some difficulty with that and that's up to probably the candidate at the end of it. >> rose: coming back to the table in new york. what was the most effective point that romney made in terms of content? >> you know, i don't think it was one. i think it was sustained. this was not a zinger debate. he refuted anything that he believed sort of distorted his character. he came out and from the very beginning used a compassionate tone, compassionate words. it was clear he was expecting the 47% to come up. or at least it was hovering in everybody's consciousness and i think there was a sustained effort throughout to make sure the people understood this is a guy who cared about people, whose policies were not radical or extreme. and when he could, and this is where i think there's some openings for the obama team, where he could, he unveiled new things that actually seemed to
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startle the president. the president did not expect him to say we're going to cover people with preexisting conditions because he hasn't said that before and the policy doesn't say it. you can see the president sort of saying what, what. but romney was so smooth in his execution. it's not what he said. so i think it was just about the sustained sort of smooth tenor of it that let him off the mat. >> what he does in his statement is described someone who come up and spoke with him. he talk board of director -- he talk board of director a woman who came up to him and said can you help us and he said yes we can and i will restore vitality. repeated throughout the debate he talked about small businesses which are the engine of this economy and how many people are employed by small businesses that has been the griping among conservatives and republicans that the romney team has not made that argument, better argument. it's what unifies people on obamacare, etcetera and he's not had that message. i thought the point that was made earlier that romney seemed
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to have finally delivered the message that his campaign has lacked for so long. he finally seemed to come out and deliver what his campaign has been unable to communicate to people. and then i just think the other thing that he did was that he knocked obama off his game by saying a couple things that were just seemed so difficult to understand or believe that they were difficult to get your hands around. first of all he said he will not pass any tax cuts that will add to the deficit. how do you do that. and he completely refuted that his tax plan would cost $5 trillion. >> rose: every chance he had he refuted that just to drive home the point. >> they had snabled, his advisors signaled he would do that for weeks. obama's team even said to me we can't believe romney's signaling he's going to do that because we're already prepared for what he's going to do. and then obama failed to respond. >> rose: go ahead. >> when mitt romney was fulminating against the wall street banks, which would would have thought that moment, again that moment like josh said where the president was like really, mitt romney's like saying
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dodd-frank was not tough enough. i thought that you saw, you know, to go back to the old trop, people knocked around the campaign when the etch-a-sketch comment was made back at the end of the primaries. but the truth is -- >> rose: he's going to write a new script is what he said. >> yes and the obama campaign thought that's what they expected to happen. that's why they thought romney was a dangerous candidate because he would etch-a sketch and go back to being a previous incarnation which is a base loving base enthusiastic trying candidate. he would be a pragmatic moderate massachusetts governor. that would be a dangerous candidate for them to have to run against. we haven't seen that in mitt romney. on a succession of issues all night tonight, that was the mitt romney that he was trying to portray. it's come very late in this campaign but, and i think the obama campaign thought well if we haven't seen it so far we're not going to get to see it. he's not going to try to revive that image tonight. that's what he tried to do and
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that's one of the reasons president obama was off his game. the other reason you'll here this a lot over the next 12 or 24 hours but goes back to the kerry-bush example. incumbent presidents, they come out for this first debate it's been a long time since barack obama had a debate, it's been four years. and the last four years since he last left the stage with john mccain in october of 2008, there's almost no one whose argued with him almost under any circumstance. he's had four years of yes men, nodding their head and agreeing with everything he says. you get up on that stage and you're rusty to begin with and then you have someone who is up there who is right in your face. >> rose: nobody goes into the oval office and says mr. president you got it wrong. >> they do -- >> they do what? >> you could feel it. it's a lot easier in debate to say mitt that's the stupidest answer you ever heard you sound like a rich idiot. it's hard to say mr. president
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you put me to sleep with that boring answer. as an old campaign hack it read to me a very weak debate threat. it's interesting to think about what their internal staff is going to be. first of all they're going to give biden a bayonet next week to carve ryan up. i don't think biden is good at it. we could have an over reaction biden show. second, there's one point and i agree totally with what john said, you saw what the country did, the guy who won massachusetts tonight. they've been afraid in the recall -- romney campaign to do that because they're over sensitive of criticism from the base. i think the base is going to be silent tomorrow because they tasted losing for a week. tonight they're tasting winning and i think you're going to see republican party get very much on board a winner now. if that continues, romney will be romney, the one we saw tonight which i think is actually the most authentic romney. the obama anyway litigate flip
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flopping. we'll see what the next week will look at. >> rose: i want to come back to that but john dickerson tell me about the medicare argument and obama says he prefers now and like the sound of obamacare. who won that particular argument about obamacare and what it does and whatever romney's proposing and what that will do, including what ryan says about vouchers. >> well, the whole healthcare debate was a pretty good proxy for the larger debate. romney had his five points against the president. he talked about these panels which there's a panel called death panels. he talked about the $716 billion cut. the president's response was he kind of backed into his response figuring he would explain it and everybody would be smart enough to see the absurdity of mitt romney but he was not clear and on point. particularly on this voucher question, and what romney would propose with paul ryan to do to
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medicare. i mean, this is where i heard from a couple republicans well now we're on to medicare and this is where the president will just clobber him because it's an issue that's very sensitive and it's one in which mitt romney basically if we get back to this question in secrecy, romney's answer to how are you going to do this, how are you going to cap the ryan of healthcare inflation without hurting quality he basically says well the free market will figure that out which is to say there's not many details about it. the president didn't press him to the mat on that. he gave an answer and assumed everybody would get there. that was true on a number of different policy fronts in the debate time. >> rose: including energy. yes? >> i was going to pick on what john just said. i was struck by how ill prepare the president was. let me take two specifics. one on pre existing, coverage on preexisting conditions. romney is saying for a while he's for it for people who are already covered but not people who are not covered. obama alluded to that but nobody
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understood what obama was saying. he got professorial. there was a chance for a real hit there. the second point, mitt romney has proposed there is no doubt about this, a $6 trillion tax cut extending the bush tax cuts for the we'll. that's indisputable. 20% across the board. and the atm and the tax taxes, reduce dividend and capital gains taxes. that's 6 trillion. what he's saying tonight is he's going to pay for it by closing loopholes or preferences but won't tell you which ones. maybe the chain can capitalize on that as john said earlier, but i think it does beg the question, why couldn't barack obama capitalize on that. >> rose: kathy, you wanted to say something. >> charlie i was wondering halfway through the debate whether the campaign had made a strategic decision, the likability advantage that the president has is so valuable to them that they didn't want to jeopardize that by him attacking mitt romney and coming across as unlikeable or less likeable, because you know it was
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astonishing that he didn't go after mitt romney. i was just talking to david -- in the room just a couple minutes ago, he made the case far more convincingly, far more aggressively and concisely for what president obama was trying to lay out the next four years than obama himself did up on the stage. i mean there was just time and again mitt romney managed to seize the advantage of appearing moderate, whether it was to do with saying he wasn't in favor of cutting all regulations, whether it was to do with the preexisting conditions, and allowing children, juniors to stay on their parents plan. you name it. time and again whether it wasn't cutting $5 trillion in taxes he managed to move to the center and obama didn't come back and refute him saying listen that's not what you were saying during the course of the primary campaign. how are the american voters going to know which president they're after. how this they going to know which romney goes into the white house because what you're saying tonight governor is not what you've been saying during the course of the campaign. i didn't hear that message i just heard it now from the spin
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room from some of obama's campaign people. you didn't hear it from obama himself on the stage tonight. >> there's a difference between preserving your likability and sacrificing clarity. i think it may be that was the strategy. well let's not get into any sort of -- >> i was just, you know -- >> to me, the greatest failure of the night and the one that the president i can't imagine he wasn't prepared for was what is the role of government in the american citizens lives. >> rose: they said that was going to be -- >> so here we are with the 47% lingering. but on top of that how you don't get back to michigan and the auto bailout. how you don't get back to all the things that really are differences, where you don't have to attack the guy but you can see this is what the federal government and barack obama stands for. there was not clarity. i actually came away more muddled on what the differences were. and they have huge differences mostly right there. >> amazing that -- >> i think josh is -- >> rose: go ahead mike. >> i think josh is totally right
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on that. but i think we have to be a little careful because as journalists and i guess i'm an opinion journalisty i'll lump myself in. we like to read the transcript of the debate. on television a lot of is non-verbal communication. somebody made this point earlier. romney looked like he was excited about getting the job, he had new ideas. the president looked incredibly tired. the president tried to pull out some of their talks. i was kind of surprised when he pulled out the old private jet thing. that was a bunt at best a year ago. romney looked like the guy who captured new ideas, i'm excited to be here and that's in the next debate the president has to change or he will be in trouble. because he looks exhausted. that's not what a president running for election in a tough environment need to be. >> we've all been pretty critical of the president including me. so i'll now bat in the one caveat. mitt romney has problems with
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certain voters, and those problems are tied to policies that he has advocated for over the course of this campaign. if you go out the way obama campaign looks at the map in the world and you go to individual voter groups, demographics in specific swing states, many of those problems he has with hispanic voters, didn't do anything to solve his problems with hispanic voters. he didn't solve that problem. his problem with educated women voters. those issues didn't come up in this debate, he didn't solve any problems with those people. you think about just in terms of the battle ground states, there's going to be a tightening, we're seeing a tightening already. but the obama people, we have a swing state possible this morning from nbc and "wall street journal" president obama ahead by 8 points in ohio. it remains the case tomorrow as it was earlier today that president obama, i don't see how, maybe that poll tightens a little bit but that's still a massive problem for mitt romney. how you win the presidency as a republican without ohio which has never happened in the
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history of the republic. this was an important debate and mitt romney did himself a lot of good but the one thing the obama taking comfort in they are still looking at those problems he has with specific voter groups that give president obama an advantage in the battle ground states and will continue to give him an advantage in terms of how to get to 270 which is ultimately what this is about. >> if you look at the eight to ten battle ground states whatever your number is of what those key battle ground states are, the ones that are in play, barack obama is ahead in all of them. arguably it's very close in colorado and north carolina and virginia. even if romney won those three states he is not going to win the presidency. he has to do better than that. the voting is going on in ohio. >> rose: john's back, good. >> just quickly. fundamentally i agree with the argument but polls are a great rearview mirror of what happened yesterday. while i believe those
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demographic problems are very, a big challenge for romney, i'm not sure i buy the identity politics calculation of women's votes and latinos questions. romney will be doing better with everybody. i think you will see poll movement and the narrative will change. we have to wait and see. >> that could be true, mike but why did mitt romney feels he would not deport young voters and allow hem to have visas. you see him tweaking on specific issues that are of interest to hispanic voters and others, you see him changing on policy because he's not addressed issues. >> no, absolutely. >> and that ... it was 70% for obama. i mean you can't win a republican can't win, i don't have to tell you this as a strategist with anything south of 40%. i think mitt romney was 20% -- >> i've been hollering this for three years on the republican
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party about latinos and there's no doubt romney is moving just like obama had to move issues in his campaign. romney's been late to it but i'm for doing it big like he did tonight and more of it. >> rose: i want to get john back in but katty go ahead. >> this is giving obama the benefit of the doubt about it of conversation. the obama campaign -- >> rose: that was heilemann's definition. >> the very fact that they spent half an hour talking about taxes where they feel they do have an advantage with segments of the electorate that we've been talking about. this is one of the most fundamental differences between the two men. mitt romney clearly tonight although he said he wasn't going to have a $5 trillion tax cut still believes if you give people tax cuts even the w ealthest that's how you stimulate oak growth. president obama did very good in that segment refuting that argument saying we tried that
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for eight years under president bush it didn't work, look where it got us. that's something, that was an area where he was good and well, the very fact there was so much time spent on it, the campaign placed to their advantage. >> rose: john, where did you think obama did well, the president did well? >> well, i think that maybe the answer he gave -- sure, you throw me that one. [laughter] the best place for the president was where he talked about the secrets and the kind of hidden romney. i think that was his best sounds like because a lot of times even if he had a good point it was kind of delivered in this ironic we're all in on the joke because we get how absurd this position is. that works only in seminar rooms. i think one of the things also, if we're looking at, if you're in the break room tomorrow at work trying to describe why mitt romney was so great, i think voters, i'm not sure what voters are going to say, you know. this is how it's going to change
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my life. they might have gotten a good feeling, might have come across well and he articulated the deficiencies of the president in a style that was not off putting. but if somebody's going to say how is my life going to get better, maybe competency is enough. things have been bad and now this guy looks like he's worth giving the reigns to. are there specific things you can put on your pocket and say i'm going to get a tax cut. mitt romney talked more, he sort of backed away from his tax cut. he was making a point about the budget deficit. i just wonder about that conversation and how it plays out over the next week. >> rose: john they're telling me i'm going to lose you because either you have to go to bed or we're losing the signal or something. >> everyone's blaming the president so it might be his fault. >> rose: thank you, mr. dickerson. i'll see you tomorrow morning. >> thank you charlie. >> rose: let me bring you back in here. so if you look at what was said tonight, was it primarily that
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romney was effective in delivering his message and it seems so in contrast to what we have known of him that is in the end the story? >> yes. he was effective because barack obama passed up opportunity after opportunity to really challenge him. and i think he presented effectively but he could have had problems if obama had been sharper. and charlie, i'm not, they're putting out this line already that look the president wanted to be laid back, he didn't want to be confrontational. somebody mentioned earlier that he really has disdain for romney which is true. and he didn't want to show that. well, he overreacted, shall we say charitably because as one of the great men of america today, davey johnson the manager of the washington nationals have said you've got to attack attack attack and i think that's fundamentally true whether it's baseball or debates.
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>> rose: he also seemed to, in my judgment, everybody going in said he's got to be aggressive but not sort of go too far down the line of pushing the president because of the likability factor. romney wanted to be aggressive and at the same time make himself likeable as well. he seemed to have bridged that gap. mike. >> i think so. mitt is a low way scious guy. i think the president prepped by watching a lot of debates and not where he cleaned the clock with a democratic state and democratic opponent. he will get better. obama has to plan on the obama campaign and improving. the problem solving, the fixer, the guy who is excited with ideas is a very attractive candidate. if they can make the spotlight
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of the campaign on that with this new interest they're going to generate, they're going to do pretty well. the obama guys will try to use paid advertising and other things to move the campaign into other stuff. but i think we now have a different more competitive race and we'll see what happens. >> rose: katty. >> before i freeze out here today, i'm blaming the cold. the obama campaign has spent millions of dollars successfully making mitt romney unacceptable as a choice to the american public. tonight mitt romney made himself acceptable in the course of a 9 0-minute debate. >> rose: thank you, you're cold. >> it gets better and better. i think we saw people in each party say well obviously our candidate barely has a tongue, we don't know if they'll be able to. but it was skewed and what the
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obama team had an opportunity to do with a good debate was sort of end it. it really could have put this out of reach. if the performances had been flipped i think it might have happened that way. >> except that christie did predict on sunday and multiple interviews the narrative would change and it would be turned upside down. even chris christy looks like a winner. >> let me go back to other comments mike made, which i half agree with and half disagree with. i want to expand on the other half. mike's right that this created an opportunity for romney. he's also right that romney performed better than his campaign has performed recently. but let's remember what most of the problems that romney has had recently. his campaign's been not that great. the president's team has defined him in a negative way with millions dollars of advertising and so far. he's been a rotten candidate. the things that have really hurt him before his 47% statement,
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his reaction to libya the stuff that happened to europe. there's a variety of things that happened and it's all about his bad candidate skills. so the part i want to agree with mike about is, he has a huge opportunity going forward but it's not the campaign or not only the campaign that has the opportunity. what the spotlight's going to be on tomorrow is, is the mitt romney that we saw last night in this debate who seems not like the mitt romney we've seen for the last six months, is that mitt romney the mitt romney we see tomorrow. do we see a new reinvigorated mitt romney. is he now putting a foot wrong. at the now keeping his feet out of his mouth. >> rose: good point. how does he answer that. >> i totally concur. what they've got to do is, the romney we saw tonight has to be in charge of the romney campaign. that i think is a real romney, working with him a long time in massachusetts. he's got to grab the mic get in the not light and commit to what he did tonight. this is the first moment of the campaign that general election,
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we've seen mitt totally in charge of what mit is doing. no teleprompter, no tv spot. they've got to ranch on that because that's what they have. if they get into some of the kind of problems they had before they'll be in trouble. they've got to bet on mitt who has been an uneven candidate but i think he found his groove tonight. from running campaigns i can tell you there's no force more powerful than a confident candidate who knows he's hit his stride. it's late and a lot of us are scared, if he can sustain it and i agree with some of john's concerns it's hard for the obama people to get anywhere near the position they were in a week ago and it's a close race all the way in. >> i'm just thinking i would like an early chapter from the second game change book about what the obama aides are doing behind the scenes tonight whether hammering going on or blaming going on or have they decided john kerry is definitely not going to be second of state.
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ha ha. >> rose: that might not have been a good mitt romney. >> the president, he does take responsibility when he does not perform well. and so i imagine there's a lot of people around who recognize they did not do as well. i think the president will be his hardest task master over the course of the next two weeks between now and when they come to new york to that second debate at hofstrau. i think the president is going to go back and say guys that didn't work out so well and we got to try to do some different things. the one thing that's true about barack obama, mike just made the point, he's been around and taking control of the campaign. the president has very strong operatives. they are all really great operatives but president obama that end really does embody the notion he runs his campaign. in the end if he's dissatisfied with his performance, he will be the one that drives the improvement if there is improvement going forward. >> rose: one thing that came up albert was this notion of the kind of grid lock we have in
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washington and whether romney would be able to do a better job and he consistently made the point what he did in massachusetts where he had a lot of democrats in the legislator. and no republicans were able to vote for what the president wanted. this is the partisanship argument that the president in 2008 said he would be able to change but obviously didn't. is that an element of this debate that will resonate. >> well, what's interesting is that if you really look at mitt romney's record, their really one major accomplishment. healthcare. and an individual mandate. i mean, that really was the crowning achievement. and mitt romney, for the entire primary season wouldn't talk about it. and now it came up tonight and he talked about it going to mike's point about etch-a-sketch and moving to the center i thought he did it rather effectively this evening. and again barack obama didn't say what were you saying in march or february. he did point out that his
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program was modeled after romney care which indeed it was. but i think it would be hard pressed to find a lot of massachusetts democrats who would say that mitt romney really governed in terribly effective bipartisan way. what's striking today is that mitt romney is now in his home state trailing by about 25 points in the polls. now they may change maybe you'll get down to 20. [laughter] >> rose: when was the last republican, who have the last republican in massachusetts. >> ronald reagan. ronald reagan. >> rose: in the 84 campaign. >> right, right. >> one point on the president correcting, i kind of agree we'll probably lead that internally but boy oh boy, the pressure on joe biden and paul ryan because that debate, the stakes are higher across the board. both biden and ryan are probably doubling their debate prep time now. >> can i disagree. >> rose: yes. >> can i disagree with my good
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friend mike murphy on that. you know mike you were just a kid i know but in 1988, there was a really much claimed vice presidential debate, lloyd benson and dan quayle. lloyd benson cleaned up the room, one of the great lines in the history of debates and it didn't move the needle one iota. i don't think vice presidential debates will be fun to watch or great for us in the press, i don't think it matters. >> rose: go ahead. >> i was going to say there are a couple sort of issues where there could have been more illumination in terms of flushing thing out on the healthcare debate where mitt romney for the first time as you pointed out talked about he would cover all people with preexisting conditions. anybody that's covered the debate about healthcare. in order to cover people with preexisting conditions and mandate that, the only way you can do that is mandate that more people have insurance with an individual and employer mandate. that's the whole crux of healthcare is in order to cover, to pay for certain things you've got to broaden the base and include more people. that is the crux of the argument. that's an argument that in
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politics you want people to make that argument. they have a strong debate about both sides of that why it's a good thing and why it's a bad thing. >> rose: his argument is coming back with any individually mandate at the state level is fine but no individual mandates at the level level. >> one thing you have to give the candidates for there's plenty of substance in this debate, there really was. >> rose: that's what i thought too. >> one thing that mattered and that both sort of failed at was at some point you got to lift up. and so even when they're talking about what's going to be covered and why it's going to be covered and if it's going to be covered by an insurance company, you got to remind people why we're talking about this. because what it means we believe government does this and we believe government doesn't do. neither one was able to sort of stop themselves and realize we're actually the guys who cleared the room. we're the last two in the room talking about this. they needed to bring more people into the real reasons behind those decisions. >> rose: the other thing that interests me in the closing, they both kept to this very
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practical points. you did not see the city on the shining -- >> nothing's sorry. >> rose: it seemed they both deliberately did that because they wanted to make practical points about the campaign. >> they both are. as much as as everybody goes on and owe about president obama is rhetorical. neither one of them in truth is a wild-y eyed -- they both like talking about this stuff. >> go ahead, mike. >> no, no. josh, if you look at obama, if he has an adoring throng but if you look at the history of debates it's not his natural
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format. he had trouble with hillary clinton in the primaries. this is not his key can departments and i think that caught up with him. he's tremendous on one thing but this is a tricky format for him. >> rose: albert, when you look at the thing that might be said about the other issues, what should we anticipate in terms of where the obama people will make the fight on monday and tuesday and wednesday of next week. will it be to attack governor romney and pick apart what he said in the debate or will he try to regain the initiative some other way if in fact they change the initiative of the campaign. >> well i think they're going to try to do both. they're going to pick up certainly on a number of things he said about both medicare and about his tax policies. they will clearly try to draw a contrast between mitt romney during the primary season and mitt romney on the stage in denver this evening. i'm sure they're going to stress some women's issues which really weren't discussed much this evening. and the immigration latino issue. all the surveys, and maybe
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they'll change too, fit really rises. he's running 21 behind latino votes and that's death in a a couple key battle ground states. >> i made this point a little while ago and i'll make it again. you cannot overstate the extent to which all of this stuff that goes on in the campaign is important. but out in chicago what they have been doing for a year and-a-half is they've been camped out in these battle ground states and they look at these voting groups. 18-29 year old african americans, hispanics, college educated white women and they know exactly how many votes they need to win these states. and they have been engaged in voter contact and driving through direct mail and advertising on these issues. that's one of the advantages of being the incumbent. mitt romney has to go and fight for the republican nomination. you have to go out and spend all this money. you get into interparty squabble
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while the incumbent if the incumbent is lucky enough not to have gets to sit there for a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of technology and a lot of focus on exactly who the voters are. i don't mean abstractly who are the voters, i mean literally who the voters are, who those people are, you got to go to their doors and get them out of the house to go. >> that's a critically important point and one having troubled with george w. bush in 2000-2004 and going to places along the gold coast or the red neck riveria whatever you want to call it in florida where there are new areas of republican voters, we would fly somewhere or go on a bus for two hours and say why are we here and carl row will say republican registration is this and we'll pump it up to this. dave talks about florida. if we can get 59% hispanic votes or over 60 there's no way romney can win the state of florida if we tweaked the hispanic vote to that number. these successful campaigns are doing exactly what johns talking about. they know exactly where their voters are, they know how to
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dial up certain demographic groups to tweak the final number in that state. the obama team is obsessed with that. >> it is one of the advantages they have that cuts against all of this other stuff. >> rose: can he overcome that murphy. >> i'm recently reformed political consultant so nobody believes more in the gadget than i do. it's a little overrated like all processed things. when you have the incumbent and the president of the united states looks like he's the junior vice president getting straightened out by the ceo in front of 65 million people in front of television for an hour, if that happens again you will get to all the kings horses situation. i agree with john on the latino vote. if romney loses that will be the number one reason we've become incompetitive in certain places. >> rose: i said this to norah this morning. >> just when an incumbent president starts to fail on live
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tv and debates in a demonstratable ways, because we say -- that's a clear loss. that's a big number mover if that continues or happens again. >> rose: do you think that the pundit crowd and reporters who are covering this love the come back story and therefore it will have a full win behind the sails. >> can i just say as i hit next to charlie every morning that charlie predicted this. he said everyone loves a come back story, yes, you predicted it. >> nor get liberal bias, forget conservative bias. they have the whole pundit class just wants a race. oh my god they love this story tonight. >> that's a mixed blessing for romney, a total mixed blessing because yes they want a come back. romney's going to get a come back but there's time for a couple come backs. there are come back junkies here. this thing is four from over.
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there's an opportunity now for real things to happen in time. >> rose: what do you think about this idea of people loving the come back, al. >> list i run bloomberg's political coverage i got 35 more days i want to get paid, charlie. [laughter] so of course we all love a contest. and you know, i think we can, i think i can tell the kids i'll have a paycheck for another five weeks. >> that's why i can't figure out, thing don't matter like ... [laughter] violating the hippo cratic oath of our business. >> the democrats think they have put away ohio, new hampshire and wis consin, republicans don't agree. romney has to win all the others. he has a tall order. >> nobody is suggesting that -- >> rose: i've got less than a minute. >> nobody's suggesting that
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romney somehow owned the election and it's even tonight nobody's saying obama lost. we've got a march three more debates. that's all it is. the show got renewed to put it in it's most naked terms. >> rose: i'm out of time. >> 150,000 people change their mind, everything changes. >> all right. >> rose: that's amazing. thank you, mike, thank you albert, thank you josh, thank john, thank you norah, see you tomorrow morning. what i thought was it was an extraordinary debate and we saw two people with different perspectives both on the path arguing with each other and debating with each other and if we get this throughout the rest of the debates the people benefit of this from the end is the people trying to make up their mind as to what direction they think the country ought to go and who can best serve that idea. thank you all, see you tomorrow night.
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